People and Communities

This programme is closing permanently for new applications on Monday 13 May at 5pm.

We want to fund projects who:

  1. help people make changes to improve their lives
  2. help communities build on their strengths and share things they’ve learned.

You can apply for funding to deliver new or existing activity or to change and adapt to new and future challenges, including the current cost-of-living crisis.

And good applications will be community led, strengths based and connected.

Contact us if you have an idea on 028 9055 1455 or at Or speak to your current funding officer if you have one.

Northern Ireland
Funding size
£20,001 to £500,000
Application deadline

5pm on Monday 13 May 2024

How to apply

How to apply

You can tell us about your ideas using our online application form

Apply Continue your application

You can see a full list of questions we ask about your idea in our application form.

It’s worth noting this is an initial application form so you can tell us about your idea. Within about 6 weeks, we will let you know if we can take your application to the next stage or are unable to fund your project.

If you have any communication needs

You can contact us if you have any communication support needs that make completing a form difficult or impossible for you. We’re happy to talk about alternative ways for you to tell us about your funding idea.

If your project is for young people between 8 and 25

You’d be better applying for our Empowering Young People fund. This fund is also closing for new applications on 13 May 2024.

Here’s what happens after you tell us about your funding idea:

  1. We'll email you to let you know we got your application form.
  2. Then we'll get in touch to talk about your idea within around 6 weeks.
  3. We’ll give you some feedback and let you know if we are taking your application further.

We’ll only take forward the strongest applications to the next stage.

If we take your application forward to the next stage

  1. We’ll ask you to complete an additional, more detailed application form within 30 calendar days. And send us this along with supporting information we ask for. This may include job descriptions, salary breakdowns, evaluation plans and an exit plan or sustainability strategy for the end of the project. We’ll ask you to send us a budget for your project. You can use your own budget. Or you can use our template budget table (Excel Spreadsheet, 28 KB).
  2. If your application is to continue or develop an existing project, you should also send us an evaluation showing the impact it has made.
  3. You'll get a funding officer. Your funding officer will get in touch to ask some questions about your project. They’ll also arrange a face to face assessment visit with you.
  4. You'll meet your funding officer. You'll have the face to face assessment visit with your funding officer. They’ll want to know how your project fits with this funding programme, as well as the difference you’re looking to make, and how you’ll run the project.
  5. Your funding officer will write a report. After the visit, your funding officer will write up an assessment report. They might get in touch with you again to ask some questions before they write their report. The report will assess:
    • how you plan to run the project and how much it will cost
    • how well your project fits with what this funding programme is asking for.
  6. We'll decide to fund you or not. Your funding officer will take your application to a decision meeting. As a group, we decide which projects get funding. This group will be made up of staff, or NI committee members. There are always lots of good applications, and we only have a certain amount of funding to give away. Making final funding decisions can be tough. It’s a competitive process.
  7. Your funding officer will let you know. If we decide to give you funding, your funding officer will let you know. They'll talk about next steps too. If we decide not to fund your project, your funding officer will get in touch with feedback.

This programme is closing for new applications on Monday 13 May 2024. We will still be assessing applications and making decisions about funding throughout 2024.

Reducing your environmental impact  

We all have a responsibility to protect the environment for future generations. This includes the communities and projects we support. 

We’ll expect all applicant organisations to consider their environmental impact and to have relevant policies and procedures in place.

There’s more information about how you could consider the environment on ‘the projects we fund’ tab.

You can also access some links to Northern Ireland guidance on our page about reducing your environmental footprint page.

Here’s what happens after we give you the funding

Our help with managing your funding page lets you know what to expect when we've awarded you over £20,000 of funding. This page will let you know about the things you need to do too.

We do checks on the information you give us

As an organisation that gives out public funds, we carry out some checks on the information you give to us.

Learn more about the checks we do on your information.

The projects we fund

The projects we fund

We fund projects that work to make positive changes in their community – whether that’s a community living in the same area, or people with similar interests or life experiences.

We're looking for projects that:

  1. help people make changes to improve their lives
  2. help communities build on their strengths and share things they’ve learned.

We can also support you to change and adapt to new and future challenges, including the current cost-of-living crisis.

A good application should be:


We believe that people understand what's needed in their communities better than anyone. So it’s important to us that you involve your community in the design, development and delivery of the activities you’re planning.

You might want to ask yourself:

  • Have I spoken to the people in my community?
  • Have the people in my community told me what they need and what’s important to them?
  • Have I listened to them and used what they’ve said to create my project?


We’d like to support people and communities to build on the knowledge, skills and experience they already have, to make the changes they want.

You might want to ask yourself:

  • What’s already working in my community?
  • How will my project add to these positive things that are already working?
  • How will my project make the most of any resources that are already helping my community?


We want to know that you’ve a good understanding of other activities and services in your community. We’d like to see how you’ll compliment these. So you can add value to what’s already there.

You might want to ask yourself:

  • Have I spoken to other groups in the area that are doing something similar to my project?
  • Have I thought about how we can all help each other?

Land and building projects

If your project will include land or buildings, you should read our Land and Buildings guidance (PDF 221KB).

Environmental impact

We encourage and support all projects and communities to consider their environmental impact when designing their projects.

For example, if your project requires a vehicle to help support your community, we expect you to have considered whether an electric or hybrid option is a viable alternative to petrol or diesel. Electric or hybrid vehicles will help reduce your projects carbon footprint, but it can also save you money on fuel, tax, and servicing.

If your project involves a building we expect you to consider how you can reduce its environmental impact and therefore its running costs.

This could include:

  • choosing to use more sustainable, environmentally friendly or recycled materials as much as possible
  • conserving water by ‘harvesting’ rainwater (it is free after all) with water butts or reusing ‘grey’ water (the water from sinks, showers, washing machines, etc.) to flush toilets
  • reducing the amount of energy your building needs by installing energy efficient lighting and low energy appliances. Or even consider generating your own energy by installing solar panels
  • reducing the amount of heat your building making sure your building is a well-insulated as possible or consider more efficient alternatives to oil or gas such as infra-red heating, heat pumps or biomass boilers
  • considering what will happen to all the waste that will be generated from your building project and commit to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as possible.
What you can spend the money on

What can you spend the money on?

This list does not include everything. So, if you're not sure, contact us.

We can fund:

  • staff salaries
  • training
  • volunteer expenses
  • equipment
  • premises costs
  • evaluation
  • overheads.

We cannot fund:

  • any activities or items you spend money on before we give you a final decision about your application
  • activities outside of the UK
  • fundraising activities
  • second-hand vehicles.